Jordan Davis on his new EP, raising kids and getting starstruck

9 June 2021 | 2:49 pm | Mallory Arbour

We sit down with Louisiana-born but Nashville-based contemporary country singer, Jordan Davis about his new EP Buy Dirt, his kids and getting starstruck.

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Following in the footsteps of his singer brother and songwriter uncle (who wrote hits for Tracy Lawrence), Louisiana-native Jordan Davis is a contemporary country singer who blends pop, modern R&B, and hip-hop with a solid country foundation.

Davis moved to Nashville in 2012 where he spent several years working as a professional songwriter before working on his own music. He released his debut album, Home State in 2018, which has racked up over one billion streams and features his three number one, platinum-certified tracks Single You Up, Take It From Me and Slow Dance In a Parking Lot.

His self-titled EP followed and earned Davis the award for ‘Best New Country Artist’ at the iHeart Radio Music Awards in 2019 as well as an ACM Award nomination for a ‘Best New Male Artist of Year’. He recently released his new EP, Buy Dirt which features the Top 15 single Almost Maybes as well as a collaboration with country superstar Luke Bryan on the title track.

You recently released your second EP titled Buy Dirt, which includes the current single of the same name with Luke Bryan on vocals. The eight-track project is a follow up to last year’s self-titled EP and debut album, Home State. Following the pandemic, and as a husband and new father, how would you say this new EP is a reflection of where you are at in your current life?

I would say it's a better spot than I was at the beginning of this pandemic. I felt like I learned a lot about myself and had a lot of growth through these past 14 months. It gave me some time to reassess some things and refocus on what truly is important. Before this I was pretty ‘work first’ on some things and I feel like I'm a lot more balanced now. I hope when the world does get back to normal and we start running wide open again that I don't ever forget the things I feel like I've learned through this pandemic.

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All the songs were written either right after shutdown or throughout the shutdown [except] I Still Smoked, that was probably three years old, and then obviously we carried over [the previous single] Almost Maybes. Which is one reason why we wanted to get it out right before everything opens back up because it just felt like it would be more special in this time that we're in, even though we're coming out of it, it still feels like we're not quite back yet. Buy Dirt just feels like it needed to be put out then.

While the EP isn’t a huge departure from what you’ve put out previously, it isn’t exactly a carbon copy either, especially not in terms of its overall themes but more a little bit different in its sound. Was this a deliberate decision or something that happened organically?

Me and my producer Paul DiGiovanni have always tried to push the envelope on things. Every project is something that I build on it. It's just the time that I'm in right now. The production of it starts in the writing room. So, it's like we get to start producing the songs from day one of the birth of the song.

I don't think it's like a crazy shift in direction or sound, but I feel like we focus more on what the song needed as opposed to looking at the whole thing like what's the common vibe or sound that we're looking for. We just focus more on making each song the best that that song can be.

That definitely comes through when listening to the EP and even though there are slight differences, there’s a harmony throughout your whole collection. A lot of creative types find inspiration comes best to them early in the morning and/or late at night. When do you find you’re the most creative?

Because I have a 19-month-old, I'm used to early mornings now. That time right at sunrise, with coffee and by yourself, you have some quiet time or read something, that's when I get ideas going and then I'll carry on through the day or carry them to a write. Every once in a while, it hits me at night, but like, majority, most of it comes early morning.

You mentioned your 19-month-old, your daughter Eloise and you and your wife are expecting your second child, a son, later this year. In terms of your daughter specifically. When she’s old enough to better understand the lyrics, what do you hope she gets out of your songs during her first listen?

I hope she doesn’t listen to all of them [laughs]. Songs like Detours, Selfish, Church In A Chevy and Buy Dirt ... some of those songs are just about me in college being an idiot! I hope she doesn’t listen to those, but she probably will and it’s all good. It is what it is. I did it [laughs] and can’t change it.

I know I'm gonna have time to explain to her what these mean to me. But I hope she just thinks her dad's a good songwriter. That's first and foremost [laughs]. There are a lot of messages in those songs that I hope she carries with her – don't take things too seriously; focus on your faith, your family and your friends; let everything else fall wherever its gonna fall; and don't be afraid to take a detour every now and then because sometimes they end up pretty good. I hope that's what she takes out of those.

How would you feel if she didn’t take a liking to country music and instead of developed an interest in say something a genre like thrash metal? Would you be okay with this?

I guess I gotta appreciate thrash metal at that point [laughs]. I would push her to country music [and] say, ‘you should listen to some of dad's friends’ but if thrash mental is what she's into, it’s part of it.

It’s not just ‘listen to this artist’ but ‘listen to some of my friends’. How mind blowing is it to you that you can now call some of these fellow country artists your friends?

I mean some of it is … I'm sitting here with a song that Luke Bryan is singing on it with me. I used to sit around and listen to Luke. I never would have thought in a million years I would be singing on a Luke Bryan song! So that's pretty special. Not all of them are friends. Not that they're not like great people, but I do have a lot of buddies in the industry, so it is cool that I want to be able to introduce her to some people that she might think are famous, but are really just buddies of mine.

Do you ever get starstruck anymore?

Not really. I'm sure there are some people that would make me nervous but not in like the music scene. I think I’m very used to it by now. I think actors like, if I was to meet like George Clooney or run into Matthew McConaughey, I would probably be like, ‘Wow, that's pretty crazy.’

It’s kind of weird, I know. I think some of that is like you've been in rooms with some of the people that you would never thought you would ever meet to where when you get into like a different realm or people in a different kind of industry that might make you a little more nervous.

You’ve toured with the likes of Rascal Flatts, Jake Owen, Kip Moore, Brett Young, Old Dominion, and others. Is there anyone in particular who has been the most to tour/hang out with?

Luke Bryan is one of the funniest human beings I've ever met in my life. We did a tour with Jake Owen which was a lot of fun. Not only does his fans tailgate for Jake shows, Jake tailgates for Jake shows, which is what makes being on tour with Jake a lot of fun! Being out with Jake, there was a lot of early morning football games where come about four-five o'clock in the afternoon, I would totally forget that I had to play that night and be like, “I need to go take a nap or something. I've been watching football since 10am.” But we've been lucky to be on some amazing tours. Old Dominion are all great guys. Kip Moore is about as good as it gets so, I’ve been on some great tours with some great people.

Lastly, is there a specific childhood memory that you would like to recreate with your kids ?

Actually, I was just talking to my dad about it. We had some amazing times at the lake. When I think back on my childhood the weekends were us either on the boat or going up to this lake in Shreveport [Louisiana]. My wife is from a beach town and I love being on the water, so that would be something that I would want Eloise to look back on. That was always special to me, so I hope I recreate that.

Keep up to date with Jordan Davis on his facebook here.

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